Okay, so I went back and did some more reading of replies in this thread. Interesting to hear that I'm not the only one interested in a modular setup.
Originally Posted by Sam S
This has been tried (Onkyo, Meridian, etc) and it never works. Your processor/receiver still has to have brain (aka decoding/processing chips) and those get outdated after 3 or so years. And the development costs means your starting at $3K, not $500. And if you're already at $3K, you might as well upgrade every 5 years, anyways when the "brain" gets outdated.
As others have suggested, that could possibly be made modular too. Obviously nothing (except perhaps the physical chassis itself) is going to last forever. Think of the PC industry standard ATX case, and its variants like mini-ATX. That standard has been around what, 15 years?
Originally Posted by Sam S
You're missing the point. Those designs were targeted at higher end products specifically because they were so expensive to design and produce.
Big CE companies can barely make an affordable point and shoot camera that runs on Android. We're a long way from some attempting something like that on a low-margin AVR line.
Yes, AVRs need CPU power to accommodate new decoders and room correction. It's not "minimal". If you want anything more than 7.1 channels of decoding, and room correction, you need at least 3 modern, purpose-built SHARC decoders. That's not cheap.
Try a modern, multi-core CPU or GPU. I'll bet one of them is up to the task. I don't know what you consider "cheap", but they're not out-of-the-question expensive if we're talking about a product that could sell in decent numbers.
Originally Posted by wpbpete
What I'd like to see most is a receiver that wants to be the center of the universe for my HT. It should handle everything audio and video that I throw at it. Now that doesn't mean it has to be hardware laden, I have plenty of toys that do a lot of things, but i want the ability to run them thru my avr. So that leaves software, Android anyone? With Android you can have DLNA, AIRPLAY, XM,SIRIUS, HD CONVERSION,HD STREAMING, A great OSD, Wireless connectivity, Intenet Streaming, Etc.... As for hardware I don't need phono and vrc anymore guys, anyone that needs them can get a vintage amp. I do need to be able to upgrade my unit, so Pre-outs are required or modules would be nice. As we go up in price High current toroidal amps are needed. So here's my simplified wish list...
Android is possibly the worst possible choice for a system that would need to be capable of smooth, uninterrupted real-time processing. I suppose you could have dedicated processing hardware, leaving Android running on a separate CPU responsible for UI, switching, etc., but honestly, I think Android is massively overrated, even for things it was intended for. To apply it to a situation where there's no touch interface (like an AVR) is a simply ridiculous misuse of that operating system. I'm a software engineer who owns and uses an Android phone every day (on a two-year contract that expires in two more agonizing months), so don't think I don't know what I'm talking about here. Android certainly has some things to its credit, but overall it is third-best after iOS and, I shudder to say, Win8 in terms of mobile operating systems.
It's important to note that your list of things you can have with Android is the same list you can have on any modern hardware running a modern operating system, given that someone somewhere has an interest in developing the necessary software. Between the AVR manufacturers themselves and third parties, I struggle to see how those wouldn't pop up quickly on the right platform.
Rather than jump aboard the Android ship, I think the right move here is to develop an entirely separate operating system (which could possibly still be open-source, and perhaps even capable of running Android apps with little porting effort) dedicated specifically to the purpose of running a modular AVR.